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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ways I've Made Money When There's No Money Coming Anytime Soon

Tonight I'm staying at a friend of mine's house who is hosting a couch surfer down on his luck who has been unsuccessful looking for a job. He has been encouraging me to lately reflect the many ways I've made money when faced with destitution. 

One of the ways that I have done that is to be constantly thinking like an entrepreneur instead of thinking like a wage slave and imagining the answer would be having a job. When faced with a time of no money, I would look for possibilities that could be turned into a situation for money coming to me where there were none now. Today we were at an "Everything is a Dollar" store when I saw these little boxes designed to be decorated with crafty stuff. I imagined one of these things turned into a glue and paper covered purse... 

This reminded me of the time I hitched to Lincoln, NE to attend an Alexander Technique workshop without knowing how I was going to get home or eat. I had fifty bucks in my pocket when I arrived, so I figured that gave me around a week I had to come up with something. It was easy to find a free place to stay there with someone who lived there at the location of the workshop. Fortunately, that person had a sewing machine that was OK for me to use. So I went shopping at the thrift store to imagine what I could make to turn into money.  Somehow, I spotted some upholstery pieces for a song that made me decide on making juggling balls. Sold around thirty sets to people in the workshop without a problem. Even my teacher bought a set from me. When it came time to find a way back to CA I was offered a ride, but there was no room in the vehicle for me. Somehow, I managed to spot a roof rack while walking by a machine shop in Lincoln that fit on top of the possible car so there was room for me to catch a ride across country back to were I lived in CA. So it all worked out for me that time.

I guess that sign painting has always saved my butt when times got unpredictable, but being a sign painter usually required having a vehicle. When stranded without a vehicle, I had to rely on my other resources to imagine what it was I could do to make immediate money. These resources involved imagining how to do something for others without bulky tools to carry around. Some of the things that I have done for people without having a vehicle is to babysit, do massage or bodywork, cut hair, be a tutor for various subjects such as beginning computer access, do home organizing or drive them around in their car. I have also painted pictures of their pets or washed their dishes.

Wonder now that maybe what made it so easy for me to get out of compromising situations where I could have been desperate, is that people around me seemed to want to have me do something for me to make myself useful in order to help me, just as much as they wanted the thing I might be offering. To a large extent, I noticed that people would buy things from me because they wanted to support my efforts to support myself.  

I guess in that way, the money you spend everywhere counts by supporting a particular someone whom you pay for services. 


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